The Sixth Form at Dubai College prides itself on academic distinction, extra-curricular dedication and a strong pastoral network.
Those who put on the blue shirt for the first time are embarking on a two-year journey of great challenge and reward, and are joining a legion of great pedigree, an alumni and student body that boasts entrepreneurs, engineers and exceptional leaders in industry. Our students nourish a long-standing excellence in the interrelated spheres of academia, sport, creative arts and philanthropy, whilst also building their character to adapt to the pressures and demands of today’s world.
Our students are perhaps best known for their academic achievements. With the blue shirt comes greater freedom, an individual study bay in one of 20 self-contained tutor carrel areas and a sense of trust in students to manage their own time. We view A Levels as the gold standard of post-16 education and 60% of our students gain an A or an A*, which, according to The Telegraph, would place us in 57th place in the UK league tables. A very high proportion of our students end up at their first choice university with 77% heading to the UK (over 70% of whom go to Russell Group universities) and a further 10-20% going to the USA. This is supported by our innovative Top University Preparation (TopUP) programme, a year-long initiative that fosters a culture of inquiry through subject-specific enrichment. An ever-increasing number of our students take part in the Extended Project Qualification, which is a year-long process of university-style independent research towards a title of their choosing. Watching their presentations is education at its finest.
We know that academic excellence is not enough. Every single one of our students also contributes in multiple ways to the vast array of extra-curricular activities, teams, clubs and societies, many of which are led by Sixth Formers. Our senior sportsmen and women have starred in a range of sports teams, resulting in our award as the best Sports School in the UAE for the second year in a row. Our Sixth Formers enjoy outstanding opportunities within the spheres of music, art, design, dance and drama, the countless hours of practice and rehearsal, leading to staggering performances and productions throughout the year. Our Charity Committee co-ordinates multiple events including World Food Day, Shoe Box collections for labourers and the now legendary Music, Charity, Love.
Yet for all of these tried and tested, traditional trademarks of a top-performing Sixth Form, we also place a high value on the need to nurture the future. One-on-one personalised university interviews form the bedrock of this preparation, supported by an extensive pastoral programme. The Home Alone initiative develops skills and knowledge in preparation for life away from the comforts of Dubai. Each student is asked to prepare a Wednesday Project, wherein they teach an area of specialist knowledge or niche interest to their peers. Indeed, student leadership is very important to us. Sixth Formers lead the School Council, are liaisons and peer mentors to Lower School students and have developed and delivered a study skills programme for younger years.
In short, our Sixth Formers are extremely busy. Over the course of the two years, our students give up so much and they grow immensely; they are committed and inspirational in equal measure. These pages hopefully reveal a flavour of this thriving and dynamic environment, but the best way to get to know us a little better is to arrange a visit and to meet our students directly. They are our best ambassadors.
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Applying to university in Year 13 may seem comfortably far off; however, what students do in Year 12 can significantly ease the burden of the application process in Year 13. Certain elements recommended below are advisable and others are essential. Please read through the following information carefully and set a plan in motion.
- Research Your Course
- DC Alumni Mentors
- National and International Events and Competitions
- Work Experience
- Residential Courses
- Sixth Form Office Guidance
- Destination of Leavers
Many of you will already have some idea of what you want to study at university and perhaps even know where you want to apply. Others will just be pleased to have found a programme of three or four A Levels which you enjoy; either way you should familiarise yourself with the website www.ucas.com which is the central location for all applications to UK universities. The UCAS website contains details of all courses which can be studied at UK universities as well as information on which universities offer those courses.
Dubai College has produced thousands of successful students over the past 40 years. As a consequence it is likely that someone somewhere has studied your course at your chosen university and may be able to offer you some advice. Come to the Sixth Form office and speak to the Sixth Form team and ask them to give you details of any recent students from DC whom you might be able to contact. Speak to the Year 13s who are currently going through the application process and may well be heading to the university of your dreams.
The key word which comes up again and again when universities are asked about the qualities they look for in a potential student is passion. One of the easiest (and most crucial) ways of demonstrating this passion is to read around your chosen subject in Year 12 so that you can include details of this outside reading when you come to write your personal statement in Year 13. Speak to your Head of Department or to the librarian for suggested reading. You should aim to read at least two books about your subject which expand your knowledge beyond the content of your A level syllabus.
A simple search on Google will alert you to the vast array of essay competitions, Olympiads and other national and international events specifically targeted at secondary school students. If you were to enter (or even better win) such a competition, it would again amply demonstrate your passion and commitment to your chosen subject.
These are just some examples:
- Stephen Spender – poetry in translation competition (sponsored by The Times newspaper)
- British Mathematical Olympiad
- F1 in Schools
- British Biology Olympiad
- UK Chemistry Olympiad
- Young Geographer of the Year (run by the Royal Geographical Society)
- The Robert Robson History Essay Prize (run by Trinity College, Cambridge)
- Thomas Campion English Prize (run by Peterhouse College, Cambridge)
- Arthur Cotterell Theatre Playwriting Competition (run by Kingston College)
Take to your Head of Department about the opportunity to enter these and other such competitions within school.
For those of you considering careers in Law, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Engineering and other such vocational degrees the quality and quantity of your work experience really does matter. To be able to include details of this in your personal statement in September next year, you will need to have completed this in Year 12.
A famous sociological study in the 1970s sought to understand why working class school children underperformed middle class school children in the UK. The results were interesting. In actual fact working class children made the same or better progress as middle class children during term time, but the opportunities for broader education offered by middle class parents during the holidays meant that these children continued to learn during the long school vacations thus overtaking their work class peers and given them an added advantage each term.
The long summer holiday is a prime opportunity to enrol on the plethora of residential courses which are often hosted at UK schools and universities. Again Google is an excellent place to start, as will be your Head of Department.
Please come to the Sixth Form office at any stage during the course of the year to discuss your plans. Equally use tracking time with your tutor to discuss your options. There will be a Higher Education evening in November during which we will be going into the finer details of the application process to UK universities (including Oxbridge), US universities (including Ivy League) as well as European universities such as Maastricht and Copenhagen, many of which achieve higher rankings than the Top 10 UK universities and much, much cheaper.